Creating More Affordable Housing in City Heights
March 13th, 2015
Friday, affordable housing advocates celebrated a milestone achievement: the renovation of more than 130 housing unites for low income residents and seniors.
Meet 62-year-old Wilbur Kelly, a retired Army Drill Sergeant whose been living in an apartment complex off El Cajon Blvd. in City Heights.
Kelly's one-bedroom home looks a lot different than it did last year before his building was renovated.
With new wood floors, brand new cabinets and appliances in the kitchen and bath, Kelly said now it's a lot nicer to come home.
Kelly's apartment building and nine others are part of an ambitious renovation project called "City Heights Ten," the rehabilitation of 123 units in 10 different locations was made possible by a partnership between Developer Wakeland Housing, the City Heights Community Development Corporation and the San Diego Housing Commission.
The Housing Commission combined more than a dozen smaller loans for a total of $6 million, other financing came through tax credits and revenue bonds from the city.
The CEO of Developer Wakeland Housing said the biggest challenge was making improvements to properties in 10 separate locations.
At Harmony Homes, where Kelly lives, the effects of many small changes add up.
There's fresh landscaping, trees and flowers in bloom and there's upgraded security with the addition of a gated entry and security cameras placed all around the building.
Kelly said he's noticed some other changes too.
His neighbors are much friendlier and now, Kelly says the whole neighborhood feels like a better place to call home.
This kind of project also helps to raise the values of neighboring properties.
More important, in the long term, these renovated homes also improve the stability of the neighborhood, even as rents rise and San Diego housing gets more expensive.